He jumped across to have a look at his phone while his brother was off to the loo. He wanted to check the count of girls his brother had in his contact list. There were 29 of them. He felt slightly annoyed. As the last time he checked, there were only 23 of them. And these were the girls his brother kept contact with or tried to keep contact with. He usually received scores of these calling cards from girls at any of his concerts. He played guitar for a mildly famous band. He didn’t even know if his brother played lead guitar or base guitar. He assumed that it must be lead guitar as he made quite a decent amount of money. He looked like an emaciated scarecrow with a crow’s nest on his head pretending to be bunch of hair. He remembered that once while he was home, their mother got after him to sew up his torn jeans.
This was his father’s home. He left it long back when he started to make decent amount of money out of his concerts. The person who planned this home must have been smoking the weirdest stuff ever. Right now he could have done with some of that. The way to the toilet in this house went through the study! Or maybe his father decided to make use of this small space and turned it into his study. But on the way to the toilet!! His father might have been smoking that stuff then. Every morning his father after his bath , pooja and breakfast sat here with his bunch of newspapers for about 2 hours. It was funny imagining him with a newspaper in one hand and a bong in another. His brother wouldn’t find it funny though. He was the darling of the house when his parents were alive. He would react just like a practicing Hindu will if you ask him to have beef. He had lied to his brother that he needed to use the loo. Actually he wanted to have a look at the new manuscript his brother was working on. While young, his brother often used to show him the short stories he wrote. Slowly but steadily, he stopped. He could never figure that had something to do with the increasing count of his girlfriends. He once asked his brother to write a love letter for a girl he wanted to impress. The girl couldn’t understand a word of it. But dumb that they are, she fell for him. His brother had used words like “happenstance” and “serendipity” in the letter and he had to take extra lessons from his brother just to pronounce them properly. But nevertheless the letter was beautifully crafted. He almost wanted to keep the letter with himself. But then he gave it to the girl. The girl later realized that such ball freezing language writing was beyond him and asked him about the original writer. So he uploaded the letter on a blog and told her that he copied it from there. He didn’t want to tell him that it was written by his brother. Possibly he was afraid that his brother –already the apple of eyes of their parents- will start getting more attention even from girls than him. Never mind, the girl still dumped him. Like all of them who get dumped who have a girlfriend in adolescence. .
Till date he wished he could write like his brother. Shivani. One of the girls he slept which with he thought he could fall in love with as well. There weren’t many of the likes. Guess HE didn’t make her kind anymore. Sometimes she spoke like Ayn Ryand , often descending into words of Wordsworth. Of course he could have been drunk when he heard those. Or more likely she was drunk when she spoke thus. He had read them while young because of his brother. So could tell. One day she left him for a guy who she said spoke like Scott Fitzgerald and recited like Hemmingway. Of course he had no fucking idea who these gentlemen were. Possibly even she didn’t. She was drunk when she left, you see.
He could never understand girls. He still remembered one of the earliest ones he had come across. She once was his brother’s, only to somehow find that a letter his brother had given her was actually written by him. And she dumped him. Somehow she found him out to be the original author and wanted to be friend with him. Now, that she dumped his brother over a fucking letter should have been warning enough. After sometime, she wanted him to get smarter. You know, keep up the appearances. He wanted her to like him not only for his writing capabilities, but what he was, in totality. Alas, he didn’t notice that his totality also included his growing paunch. She did. He was pissed and of course got dumped. After all he never asked her to be a mixture of Aishwarya Rai and Arundhati Roy.
Those days he loved his brother a bit too much. And with deep love, as they say, you subconsciously imitate each other. He even felt bad proxy-dating the ex of his brother. Suddenly around the time his brother had decided to be opposite of him, his brother started collecting girlfriends. With his modest means at charming a girl, he struggled to keep pace. To keep pace with his brother’s changing life. And ultimately his regard and love for him were outstripped by a person he didn’t recognize much.
The prose of this manuscript was beautiful as ever. Some of the lines were what you call in layman language- “Killer”. He took out a pen and scribbled some in minute letters on his hands. He will have to keep his hands in his pockets for the rest of the time that he was here. But it was worth the effort. Those lines worked with some of the girls he liked. Though, obviously the results were not always spectacular and left much to be desired.